Study of Matthew 2-3: A Special Star and Jesus’ Beginnings

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Matthew 2:1-2

Matthew 2 begins with the Wise Men seeing a special star and knowing it meant the King of the Jews had been born. I had never thought of it before now, but I think it’s interesting that the signal to the Wise Men of Jesus’ birth was a star. To my mind, Jesus is the star of comfort, peace, and refuge; a bright point shining out of the darkness. I think that is a beautiful mental image.

Matthew 2:3-18

After seeing the star signifying the birth of Jesus, the Magi were summoned by King Herod. He commanded the Magi to bring Jesus to him. Instead of doing so, they simply returned to their home. When Herod found out, he decided to deal with the ‘problem’ once and for all by having him killed. The Lord appeared in one of Joseph’s dreams and told him of Herod’s plans and that he should flee. Joseph–again without asking questions or hesitation–packed up his child and Mary and and ran to Egypt.

Matthew 2:19-23

After Herod died, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus moved to a place called Nazareth in Galilee. The people of Galilee and Nazareth were seen as second-class citizens, though; in fact, it was so bad that it was considered an insult to call someone a Nazarene. And yet knowing this (as He knows everything), God made Joseph and his family settle there anyway. I particularly liked the message this gives. I’ve lived in lower-income areas, places where people were considered ‘second-class citizens’. To know that God had his own Son living there tells me that it doesn’t matter where you live; you can overcome your surroundings.

Matthew 3:1-9

It may not seem like much happens in Matthew 3, but it still has some pretty important points. Look at what John the Baptist stays in 3:8-9:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Although¬†John the Baptist was¬†addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees, it’s still relevant to us today. We still need to ‘bear fruit’ in order to repent and thank God for all He us has done for us. To bear such fruit, we need to be active Christians. John also tells the Pharisees and Sadducees not to assume that because they are descendants of Abraham they are saved. Just because I call myself a Christian doesn’t mean I am living up to what God has planned for me; I need to actively seek God out, spread His Word, and ‘produce fruit’.

Matthew 3:16-17

Another interesting thing about Matthew 3 is in verses 16-17:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’

Remember that this occurred before Jesus started spreading the Word, yet God was still delighted with him. What does this mean? God is happy with us, even if we aren’t doing phenomenal works like Jesus did. He is happy with us simply because we are His children.

My Personal Prayer

Lord, help me to bear good fruit and fulfill all that you have planned for me. Grant me the strength and perseverance necessary to rise above my surroundings to do so.

 

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